Wednesday, 10 September 2008

ILaiyaraaja-The Amazing Musician!

'What all does the breeze bring?
Sound of the Bell, Sound of the Barking Dogs,
Sound of the Beggars,Sound of The Door,
Sound of the Conch,Sound of the Gossiping People,
Sound of the Crying Baby....
Let us sing and celebrate..'

மண்ணுலகத்து நல்லோசைகள் காற்றெனும் வானவன் கொண்டு வந்தான்
பண்ணிலிசைத்த அவ்வொலிகள் அனைத்தையும் பாடி மகிழ்ந்திடுவோம்
நண்ணி வருமணி யோசையும், பின்னங்கு நாய்கள் குலைப்பதுவும்
எண்ணுமுன்னே 'அன்னக் காவடிப் பிச்சை'யென்று ஏங்கிடுவான் குரலும்,
வீதிக் கதவை அடைப்பதுவும், கீழ்த்திசை விம்மிடும் சங்கொலியும்
வாதுகள் பேசிடு மாந்தர் குரலும் மதலை அழுங்குரலும்
ஏதெது கொண்டு வருகுது காற்றிவை எண்ணிலகப்படுமோ?

Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathi was a poet par excellence.In this poem,
First he talks about the sound of the bell..We all agree.Yes..It is musical.

Then he does the unthinkabale..Barking dogs...Beggars,Gossipping people..crying baby..

Now for a moment let us all close our eyes and listen to things around us..

Don't we 'consider' only some as 'Musical'?

Our conditioning plays a major role here.

A Genius like Bharathi is able to concentrate , listens to everything without any bias and is able to celebrate life..


This is what distinguishes a genius from ordinary people.

A Genius like ILaiyaraaja has used(and has been using) the sound from nature and has wonderfully woven these in his compositions.

What is also amazing is the way he uses different concepts well within the parameters of classical music.

There is a set pattern but suddenly this pattern changes and a new pattern emerges taking us out of the world.

His music has happiness, sorrow, anger, love, yearning, laughter, compassion..

But most importantly it is as enjoyable as Life itself.

Today, we are going to see a great old composition of his that describes Nature and also uses the sound of Nature.

It is ‘Engum Niraintha Iyarkkaiyil Enna Sugamo’ from 'Ithu Eppadi Irukku'(1977).

The song is based on Mohanam.

Mohanam is a very beautiful Ragam.It is a pentatonic raga with sa ri2 ga3 pa dha2 Sa / Sa dha2 pa ga3 ri2 sa as the Arohanam and Avarohanam.

As a scale, it is widely used in S.E.Asian music.

It is one of Raja’s most favourite ragas and he has widely used this especially in his earlier works. So much so that he can be called as 'Mohana Raja'.

One of the features of Raja’s Mohanam is the sparing use of ‘ni’, a Swara that is non -existent in this raga .

The compositions stand out beautifully because of the way he has used it.

Some of the examples are ‘Kannan Oru Kaikuzhanthai’(Bhadrakali),’Thaen Malli Poove’(Thyagam),’Oru Thanga Rathathil’(Dharma Yudhdham)…

The Raga has a timeless allure..

‘Engum Niraintha’ has a timeless allure as well.

It starts with the cuckoo like voice of Janaki humming ‘lala lala la..’.
In Raja’s compositions, even humming and Aalap follow a rhythmic pattern.Here it follows the Tisram(3) beats..

The Violins throb to welcome us with the small Flute and the Bass Guitar joining. It sounds like the Tundra Swan.

The Pallavi shines with resplendent brightness.

Besotted with the beauty, the Flute and the Violins play a short interlude.

There is a short anupallavi in the resonant timbre of Yesudass giving drawing the sketch of the Raga.

We see tiny yellow and orange berries, deep violet wild flowers with one tree standing sentinel and we hear the song of the cuckoo. The yodeling of Yesudass is amazing here!

We listen to the music from their chirpings and see the colours.

It is harmony at its best!

As the strings play, we see the aurora. There is a sudden wondrous sway of Guitar and we see the light glowing in shot colour glints.

The intricately carved Charanam continues.

The short flute pieces in between lines, the ‘lalala..’ and the traversing of the pitches in ‘Vaa..’ add to the zing and glamour.

The pattern changes beautifully in the next interlude as the Veena starts playing Hamsanadham, a different Raga altogether.The Flute produces another magic as it plays Amrithavarshini Raga.

It is like the Sun suddenly deciding to tease and ruffle the tall blades of Grass making the Green colour Golden.

With a casual sweep, the Violin orchestra goes back to Mohanam and the long flute plays soberly as if it is totally oblivious to the spectacle!

It is sheer artistry and poignant romance.

One is amazed by the unbounded creativity and the clinical precision.

And this is the pattern I was talking about in the beginning..

As one sees a clear pattern emerging, it undergoes a beautiful change…

The composition is with multifarious delineations!

The composition is embedded with various emotions!

The composition is a veritable fare!

It is just like our Life!

Is not his Music like the Nature itself?

அவரது இசை எங்கும் நிறைந்த இயற்கை!

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